A 15-minute, self-paced outdoor activity break can help elementary schoolchildren improve alertness, cognitive performance and feelings of well-being, according to a citizen science study of 5,463 elementary schoolchildren in the United Kingdom.

Researchers found that pupils who participated in The Daily Mile™ program, designed as a self-paced break from classroom activity—during which children ran or walked for 15 minutes—performed better on cognitive tests and felt more positive than those who did not do the activity or who engaged in intense running. Children’s scores were lower after breaks involving no physical activity.

The findings are available in BMC Medicine (2020; doi:10.1186/s12916-020-01539-4).